LONDON -- Arsene Wenger has explained why he does not need any help from a sporting director to run Arsenal, saying he has all the knowledge he needs and that he does not want to be blamed for someone else's decisions.
On Tuesday, Wenger strongly rejected the notion that Arsenal should add a director of football operations who could take on some of the manager's workload when it comes to transfer dealings and contract negotiations.
Wenger has always had the final say on nearly every major decision made at Arsenal since his arrival in 1996, even though other top clubs are increasingly spreading responsibilities across at least two positions. While many of Wenger's critics have argued that he could benefit from more help, he is adamant the manager needs to have total control.
"Of course. Who do you blame when it doesn't work? When it doesn't work here, I am blamed. So if I am blamed for decisions I haven't made... It's tough enough to be blamed for decisions you have made," Wenger said. "For me, it's like you write an article in the newspaper and somebody else signs [the byline] for you. It's similar."
Wenger's resistance to a restructuring could cause some friction with the Arsenal board, with CEO Ivan Gazidis having told fan groups last month that the Gunners' recent slump would be used as "a catalyst for change" at the club.
Gazidis has reportedly drawn up a shortlist of candidates for a sporting director role, but may have to put that idea on hold if Wenger decides to sign a new two-year contract.
Wenger has yet to announce whether he will remain in charge next season, with the club insisting that it will be a mutual decision.
"Some coaches are only interesting in managing the team and they are happy with it. I am not like that, so I cannot change myself now," he said. "I can change by trying to get better. But [not] the personality. I have 40 years' experience at the top, top level, you know. Personally I think I have a good knowledge of the game."
Wenger has shown a willingness to change some things lately, however, switching formations to a more defensive-minded back-three formation that is a big departure from his normal playing style.
Chelsea have used a similar system to move within one win of the Premier League title, another indication that a strong defence may be more important than a free-flowing attack these days. Leicester won the league title last season by also employing a counter-attacking style, but Wenger said he still believes possession-based football is the way forward.
"The last two seasons, the teams that had not big possession won the league. [But] I don't know if it's a long-term trend. I must say that some seasons, teams that had low possession won the Champions League. But over a long period, it's still teams that had the most possession that won the Champions League," Wenger said.
"I still think sport has to encourage initiative. And if it rewards too much teams that don't take the initiative, then we have to re-think the whole process. Because people will not come forever to watch teams that don't want to take the initiative.
"It has to encourage initiative, and the responsibility of the people who make the rules are always to encourage teams who want to play. Because that's what you want to see. ... I'm convinced that you still need to have the ball to create goal chances.
"I believe that overall you cannot encourage your teams to say 'no, we do not want the ball.' You cannot buy big players and say we do not want the ball. The big players want the ball."